Occasionally, Toronto churches become a central component of new development applications, like those seen in Cabbagetown and High Park over the past few years. A Baptist church building could be uprooted and integrated as part of a high-rise development plan proposed for Toronto’s Weston neighbourhood.
Earlier this month, an official plan and zoning by-law amendment application was submitted to the City of Toronto to construct a mixed-use project with two residential towers at 871, 1879 and 1885 Weston Road. The developer, Castlepoint Numa, recently announced its collaboration with WoodGreen Community Services to deliver up to 400 new units of affordable housing to Toronto over the next decade.
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The triangular development site is located on the northeast corner of Weston Road and Lawrence Avenue West, adjacent to the Weston GO Transit and UP Express station. Two buildings inhabit the site, including a 1960s former flatiron bank building and the Weston Park Baptist Church. The church was built in 1947 to replace the original structure that was constructed in 1908, and received building additions in the 1960s and 1980s.
Neither of the structures are designated as heritage buildings. A portion of the site is leased by Metrolinx to provide parking for commuters, according to the application’s planning rationale.
The proposal entails the creation of a 38-storey (Tower A) and 28-storey residential tower (Tower B) supported by a shared three-storey base building with new retail and community space.
Between the two towers there would be 538 residential units, consisting of 253 one-bedroom, 226 two-bedroom and 59 three-bedroom suites. Both ownership and purpose-built rental units would be included in the towers.
The site is organized around a central open space and a pedestrian walkway that runs diagonally across the lot. Pedestrian connections would link to the nearby Weston transit station. The three-storey podium building would be divided into two blocks, separated by a mid-block woonerf that connects to Lawrence Avenue West and Weston Road. This would provide vehicle access to the site and the underground parking garage with 229 spaces.
The Weston Park Baptist Church building would be restored to its 1947 version and repositioned in the site’s eastern corner, acting as a gateway to the development that provides retail and community facilities. The existing historic flatiron would be integrated under Tower A, which would be rounded in shape to “complement the heritage building below.”
Approximately 3,230 square metres of community space will be built in the podium, inclusive of a gym, meeting spaces and an exterior terrace. A performance hall and sanctuary would be integrated to accommodate services for Weston Park Baptist Church as well as theatrical performances.
The development would provide 1,254 square metres of indoor amenity space and 1,179 square metres of outdoor amenities. About 141.9 square metres of terrace space would be added on the roof of the podium, along with amenities on the third and fourth floors. The development would offer long- and short-term parking for 553 bicycles.